Islamabad: Days after his death, the family of Osama bin Laden confirmed to Pakistani securitymen that the Al Qaeda chief was killed during the raid by US special forces, Pakistan's civil and military said on Friday as they revealed more details of the pre-dawn operation in the garrison city of Abbottabad.

“Pakistani authorities first learnt of the raid when reports came in early on Monday morning that a helicopter had apparently crashed in Abbottabad” Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said during a news briefing at the Foreign Office.

It took about 10 minutes for authorities toconfirm and inform the army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi that no Pakistani helicopters were flying in the area
 
“The army then directed troops and intelligence units to rush to the site while the air force scrambled two F-16 jets” Bashir said.

“The troops and jets took 15 minutes to reach the spot, located about 900 metres from the Pakistan Military Academy, but the American helicopters had already made their way back” he said.

Bashir added, “As Pakistani military personnel made their way into the compound targeted by the US special forces, they found bin Laden's family which said that it was he who had been taken.”

In a separate briefing,some senior military officials said that bin Laden's daughter, found in the compound, had told them that she had seen her father being killed on the upper floor of a building and then dragged down a flight of stairs.

The officials also cleared that a woman killed during the raid, previously described in some accounts as bin Laden's wife, was actually the wife of a Pakistani guard of the al Qaeda leader.

The women and children found in the compound included three wives of bin Laden.

One of them, a Yemeni woman identified in some media reports as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fattah who was injured in the firing.

The Yemeni wife said that bin Laden had been living in the compound for the past five years, the officials were quoted as saying.

Bin Laden usually confined himself to two or three rooms in the compound and never went outside, she told officials.

The military officials said that the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies were not informed about the raid.

Officials contended that Pakistan had given the US a lot of information on bin Laden's whereabouts in the past two years, including intelligence gleaned from intercepts of some phone conversations in May and August last year.

Foreign Secretary Bashir contended that the US forces were able to get the operation unnoticed as it was a ‘covert operation’ using helicopters that had technology to evade radars and fly very low. "As soon as the operation was over, (US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman) Admiral (Mike) Mullen called (Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani) at about 3 am .

"He disclosed that this is an operation that had taken place and they had succeeded in that operation" Bashir said.

“Later, US President Barack Obama telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari for a brief conversation during which Zardari said that bin Laden and Al Qaeda had declared ‘war’  against Pakistan and were responsible for the deaths of so  many innocent people", he said.

(Agencies)